The State of Braelin
Siege! Under the blazing summer sun, the city of Esos braces itself against the ravening Serenite army. Thanks to the bravery and cunning of Braelinese militias, the Serenites have had to weather continual sabotage and martial harassment during their long march up the Kordiso. Yet the force that threatens Esos still outnumbers the capital’s fighting population by a ratio of 3 to 1. Troops eight-thousand strong are riding from the nearby Gavellese front to reinforce the beleaguered city; but will Esos be able to hold until these allies arrive? or will the Serenites overwhelm its defenses and storm the Palace, where King Darien Odell is rumored to hide?
Even as citizens’ eyes turn toward the kingdom’s heart, battles rage like wildfires in other places as well.
Along the Braelin-Seren border, a massive Serenite force of about 45,000 soldiers is bringing all its strength to bear against the Caxton Wall. Against a standing army of 25,000 fighters on the Wall, their chances would be good—if it weren’t for the additional ten-thousand Braelinese on the march from Zála, maneuvering to crush their unsuspecting enemies against the Wall… and the timely assistance of a further eleven-thousand Serenite fighters from the Eastern Marcali province. Drawn from several splinter political groups, they are known collectively as “the Rebel Coalition” and they seek reform within the Empire. If this gambit succeeds, the allied Braelinese/Rebel forces will wipe out half of Seren’s martial force, dealing a crippling blow to the enemy! Yet strategists are already questioning the Braelinese commanders who seem willing to sacrifice their capital in the name of victory in the east…
Trouble is brewing in the north as well: hordes of Beast-people have poured out of the Paranomos Mountains to attack Braelin’s northern territories. During the long winter, they appear to have learned a series of terrifyingly effective strategies using their highly mobile fighting style. It seems likely that someone has trained and supplied them, but who? The Xirosi disclaim responsibility—and what few Xirosi mercenaries have been allowed into Hawksworth and Blacknall until now have courageously helped to defend their allies’ lands and towns. But it is not enough to hold back the tide; and with the official confirmation of young Ulrich Erewaker’s death, Blacknall is crumbling. Even as the northern duchies seek further succor from the Xirosi, many southern Braelinese remain convinced that their western neighbor is to blame for the attacks.
Meanwhile, in Gavell, the massive retreat of Braelinese forces toward Esos has created an opportunity for the revolutionaries whose spirits remain unbroken. They seem to be using what time the siege brings to regroup, resupply, and cement their hold in the eastern parts of the broken duchy.
And from the High General Knight Iolanthe la Hale and her plan to challenge the Emperor of Seren in single combat—no news.
As these titanic forces clash and struggle, it seems only a matter of time before one of them breaks. Those caught up in the tide of war can only do their best to keep afloat and petition the gods for mercy—if mercy is something that can still be had…